Monday, July 22, 2013

Everett Holden

Everett Holden Reese was born on July 19th at 5:35 p.m.  He weighed 8 pounds 15.8 ounces (which they quickly rounded to 9) and was 21 3/4 inches long (which they quickly rounded to 22).  Here's the story of how he came into the world:

After we came back from the beach, I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday knocking projects off my to-do list (and still not finishing everything I wanted to get done).  I was due on Saturday (July 20th), but I wasn't too concerned.  With Kaden, I had to be induced at a week over my due date, and I was kind of anticipating something similar would happen again, even though I was really hoping to avoid an induction.

Chad opted to work from home on Thursday (July 18th) instead of his usual Wednesday, so he could go with me to my doctor's appointment during lunchtime.  I had convinced Dr. Flanagan at my 39 week visit to do the weight check at my 40 week visit (instead of waiting until 41 weeks, like they did with Kaden, who was huge).  I wanted him to be there, in case they decided to induce me immediately, like they did with Kade.

Sure enough, Everett was showing pretty big in the ultrasound--8 pounds 14 ounces.  It was pretty clear I was destined to have another big baby.  She couldn't get a clear picture of his face, because he wasn't too cooperative, but we did see that he was going to have hair, just like Kaden did.  

We then waited to see  Dr. Carter, who let me know I was dilated a good 3 and a half or 4 cm (I'd been at a 2 before we left for the beach).  I was asking her about the possibility of stripping my membranes to jump-start labor, when she got a kind of concerned look on her face and said, "What I'm feeling is not a head."  Everett was in the posterior position (head down, but face up, instead of the more preferred face down). She explained that this was not the most ideal way to be born, but could be done. However, she was a bit concerned that she seemed to be feeling the baby's nose and eyes, which might mean his neck was in a position that could cause it to hyper-extend during a traditional delivery.  Meaning he could get stuck.  Even though she was really calm, we could tell she was worried about it.  She even asked the nurse to ask Dr. Mong not to leave for lunch, as she may need to consult with him for a second opinion.  Great.  She wanted us to get another ultrasound, so she could get a better look at what was going on.  I was instantly terrified they were going to say c-section and thought I might cry.  

We called my friend Janet, who was keeping Kaden, and she was nice enough to keep him a bit longer, so we could wait for the ultrasound technician to return from lunch.  Around 30 minutes later, the ultrasound tech and doctor came in and we did another ultrasound, while the doctor did another exam.  Now things seemed, OK (still posterior, but no neck hyper-extension), and Dr. Carter was completely confused.  (Now that we've met him and seen how he bends his little neck to move his head completely back, it makes perfect sense.  He was doing that during the exam!)  Dr. Carter finished the exam and said, "The best thing would be for you to go into labor spontaneously on your own in the next 24 hours," at which point Chad said, "I know Katie was wondering if you might strip her membranes," to which Dr. Carter said, "Oh, I just did that!" Well, OK then.           

We made an appointment for Monday, in case I didn't go into labor on my own, at which point they would set up an induction time for sometime during the week (since the baby was already showing so big, especially with Chad's medical history of Erb's Palsy--his radial nerve was stretched when he was born, because his shoulders were wider than his head; he still does not have full range of motion in his arm, because of it). 

I didn't really feel anything out of the normal, but decided we should do our grocery shopping that night (just in case I went into labor).  We went to Kroger and did a huge stock up trip, then came home and did Kaden's usual bedtime routine.  By then, I'd had a few Braxton Hicks contractions (I was guessing, since I'd never had ANY contractions on my own without Pitocin before, but they weren't painful, and were very sporadic).  I packed a hospital bag just in case and worked on finishing up the proofreading job I was working on.  About 9:30 I started to have a few things that felt like real contractions, but they weren't close together, so I tried not to get too excited.  I decided to head to bed, though, just in case I did go into labor, so I wouldn't be completely exhausted.  

I woke up at 5:00 a.m., definitely feeling some contractions.  I got up, had breakfast, and finished the last few pages of proofreading I had left.  When Chad woke up around 6:30, I told him I was having contractions, but to go ahead and head to work (he had a funeral for a coworker he thought a lot of that day, and I felt he should be there).  I promised I would call him if things picked up, and he could just come home early.

Kaden and I had a typical morning, while I stopped occasionally for a bad contraction.  We made the beds, ate breakfast, changed the sheets on the guest bed (since I knew my mother-in-law was coming to stay after the baby was born), and vacuumed upstairs.  It was honestly nice just having things to do to take my mind off things.  The contractions weren't too awful, but I was having TERRIBLE back pains with each one (due to the baby's position).  The whole time, I kept waiting for it to be a false alarm, since I know that happens to a lot of women--contractions pick up and then stop completely.  Around 10:30, I started keeping track of every contraction and timing them, since they were getting intense.

 I also texted Chad to come home immediately after the 11:00 funeral.  Around 11, I made Kaden and I some yummy wraps for lunch and cut up some fresh peaches.  I figured I better eat something, since it may be my last supper.  By about 11:30, my contractions were coming at regular intervals (2-ish to 5-ish minutes apart) and were building in intensity.  I wasn't quite as comfortable now.  

Chad made it home, I called the doctor's office, and Dr. Roche said to head into the office.  She would check me, see if it was the real deal, and we'd decide if I should head to the hospital.  We called Joy, who immediately got ready to leave Kinston and come pickup Kade.  We brought him with us to the doctor's office, because it just seemed easier to have her come meet us and get him there (rather than spending extra time in the car driving him to a friend's house).  

Dr. Roche let me know it was the real deal.  I dilated at least to 4 and a half cm, so she said to head over to the hospital and get admitted.  She was only on call until 5:00, and Dr. Martin would be on call after that.  

We were officially admitted to the hospital at 2:44 p.m.  Kaden was good for a while, but then he started accidentally pushing the nurse's call button, so I had Chad take him for a walk outside to wait for Gigi to get there.  I then got to sit and answer all kinds of delightful questions and fill out all kinds of forms (even though I'd pre-registered for the hospital).  Chad came back in after Gigi picked up Kade, held my hand, and put counter pressure on my back until I was finally OK-ed for an epidural around 4:30 or so.

I don't know why, but I feel like I handled contractions so much better when I started labor with Kaden.  I was just so emotional at the beginning of this delivery.  I eventually got it together, but I did shed a few tears, and I felt like a major wimp.  That back labor killed me.  

My epidural was different this time.  I could still move my legs, which I couldn't do with Kaden, and I still felt the contractions, just at a lot lower level of intensity.  It was kind of nice, because I felt a lot more in control of my body, although I occasionally wished I wasn't feeling the pain at all in my lower back.

After I got the epidural, I told Chad to go ahead and get something to eat (he'd rushed home straight from the funeral and hadn't eaten anything since breakfast), but both Mary, my nurse, and Dr. Martin suggested he bring it back to the room and take his cell phone just in case, because she was about to break my water.  So he ate his bacon cheeseburger and fries in the room while I enjoyed the bliss of the epidural.

At 4:48, Dr. Martin broke my water and confirmed what the ultrasound technician had suspected the day before--I had a lot of extra fluid.  At that point, I was dilated 7 cm, and both Dr. Martin and Mary seemed to think I'd be having a baby before dark.  Mary insisted it would need to be before 7:00, since that was the end of her shift and she'd been with me the whole time thus far.  She was a fantastic nurse and was actually a nurse midwife in the UK before coming to the US, which made her even more awesome in the delivery room.

Baby Everett listened to Mary (it must have been her charming Irish accent), because when she checked me at 5:21, I was fully dilated.

She started getting everything prepped for delivery, and told Chad to get the camera ready, because this baby was coming.  We were both in shock!  Things had taken so long to progress when I had Kaden, and I'd been expecting the same, just maybe a little bit quicker, this go around.  

As Mary was coaching me and reminding me how to push through the contractions, Everett's head started to slide out completely on its own without even a push.  She immediately had the doctor paged and I gave one good push while we waited for her.  She said, "You are made to have 10 babies!" because of how quickly the delivery was progressing, at which point I burst out laughing, and his head started to descend even more. Dr. Martin arrived, I gave a couple more pushes, and at 5:35 p.m., there he was--our beautiful baby boy!

To voice what no one ever wants to admit, I'd been a bit worried about whether or not I would feel the same instant love for a second baby that I felt the first time I met Kaden.  I know everyone always says you do, but I just wasn't sure I believed them.  Then I met Everett, and just like I was with Kaden, I was instantly smitten.  It is a real miracle how your heart just expands to love one more.

Lots of family came to visit Everett on the night of his birth.  Poppy, Cameron, Meredith, Mackenzie, and Tanner came that night to greet him, and then Gigi came later that night to see him as well.

 The next morning, Kaden got to come and meet his little brother (he hadn't had a nap the day I delivered Everett, and we thought he might do better fresh in the morning, instead of staying up late to come to the hospital that night.)

As soon as he walked in the room, he looked at me holding the baby and said, "He's not walking yet?"  Hilarious.  Then he got super excited to show Everett the present he had brought for him:  a stuffed puppy he picked out himself.  His reaction when Everett just lay there after being presented with it?  "He's not holding it?"  Everett also brought Kaden a gift:  a bunch of play dough and the movie Despicable Me, which he was excited about.  It made my heart so happy, because he said, "I want to hold him!" so we helped him get settled on my hospital bed to hold his baby brother.

He asked a lot of questions about the baby, like "Why he has a hat on his head?" and "Why are his feet so small?"  He also wanted to help give Everett his "bibi," and he was fascinated by the hospital pacifier, since he could put his finger inside it, while Everett sucked on it.  He thought that was hysterical and said, "He's just chewing me!"

It broke my heart when he left that day, because when he realized I wasn't coming home he started crying and said, "But you're my mommy and I need you!  I need you at my house!"  Heart wrenching, I tell you.  

That afternoon, Nana, Papa, Tyler, and Lauren drove up from Kinston to also meet the newest family addition, and we had a nice visit as well.  

We had a quiet late afternoon and visited with Meredith and Cameron when they came back for one last visit that night.

The next day we were discharged around 2:00 and brought baby Everett home from the hospital.

Having now had two babies in two hospitals, I've decided a few things:

1.  It really doesn't matter if you have a baby on Pitocin or not. Contractions just suck.  I told Chad as much on the way to the hospital, while I voiced that I would be getting an epidural as soon as possible.

2.  When we had Kaden at Pitt Memorial, we had a mother-baby room, where he stayed in our room the entire time.  He never went to the nursery, except for his circumcision.  I really loved this at the time, and there are things I still think are pretty awesome about it.  It was kind of nice being there for his hearing screening, any tests they ran, etc.  At Rex, where I delivered Everett, the nurses offered to take him to the nursery at night so I could rest, and then they brought him to me every time he woke up to eat.  This was amazing.  I kind of felt like a bad mom at first, but then I realized this was the last opportunity I would have to rest up before reality hit and we went home.  I came home from delivering Everett feeling SO MUCH MORE rested than I did after Kaden, and I still had plenty of bonding and cuddle time with him.  Also, they were a lot more lax at Rex about his feeding schedule.  At Pitt, they would come into my room every two hours and wake me and the baby up to try to get him to nurse.  Half the time he wouldn't nurse, because he was too tired, so that meant I'd been awoken for no reason other than to feel bad about myself for not being able to get my kid to eat.  At Rex they would let Everett go three to four hours, unless he woke up earlier, in which case they would bring him to me to eat.  So much better.

3.  Breastfeeding is so much easier the second time around.  Getting up in the middle of the night to do it is not any easier.  Case in point:  it is 2 a.m., and I have yet to go to bed.  I'm a little sad about that.  Everett's decided that he likes to eat every hour and a half.  And not fall asleep in between.  So much for the three to four hour stretches at a time we were pulling in the hospital.

4.  The food at Rex Hospital really is worth talking about.  All of my friends who have delivered there kept raving about the food, and I kept thinking it wasn't that big of a deal.  Only I forgot how starving you are after you've had a baby and start breastfeeding.  Having a semi-gourmet menu to order three meals a day (plus midnight snacks) from was pretty excellent.  My favorite entree was definitely the ginger soy glazed salmon.

5.  It is so totally OK to accept any and all help that is offered to you after you have a baby.  I forgot how tired, sore, and emotional I was going to be after this entire process.  I thought I remembered, but I didn't. I'm so thankful my mother in law is here for a few days to help, and for all of the friends who are bringing in meals, offering to keep Kaden for play dates, etc.

We are definitely loving having a sweet baby in our home.  Welcome to the world, Everett!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This One Time I Went to the Beach for Five Days . . . a Week Before My Baby Was Due

And I went into labor.

Just joking.

I didn't.

It would have made a great blog post, though.

I am still very pregnant, very huge, and very ready to be done.

Chad, Kaden, and I headed to Emerald Isle Tuesday afternoon, after Chad worked for half of the day.  I almost didn't go, but after going to the doctor on Tuesday morning and hearing that I was only dilated two centimeters, I decided I would brave the three hour drive after all.  The Finch side of the family was having a big reunion, so family was coming from California, Florida, Utah, Colorado, and of course North Carolina.  The family rented out a four-story beach house to accommodate all of the craziness (there were over 30 of us--if you include little ones--coming and going), and we had a great time relaxing, eating obscene amounts of food, and just being together.

Really, the only downside of this trip for a huge, pregnant woman like me was having to huff and puff up all the flights of stairs.  Other than that, it was a great vacation.  No one comments about how much food a pregnant woman eats, and there were a lot of people there to entertain my toddler.  It was pretty awesome.

Kaden fell in love with the beach this time, which made me extremely happy, since I've always aspired to have beach-bum-surfer-children.  We're one step closer to accomplishing that parenting goal.  There was lots of splashing in the water, being carried into the waves by Daddy, and of course bonding with the cousins while building sandcastles.    

This is where I spent most of my time when we were at the beach--under the shade watching other people play with my child (like I said, not a bad gig):

What 39 weeks pregnant looks like at the beach, when you aren't under the shade in a cover up:

 Jason was a good sport:

Even when they started feeding the seagulls crackers right over the top of his buried body . . .
 We took the kids to the aquarium on a rainy day, and they had a great time!

Kaden was THRILLED that they had the same sea turtle exhibit that he enjoyed so much when we visited the Outer Banks with my mom a few months ago.  He definitely rehabilitated more than one turtle while we were there.

The entire group:

 The Reese Clan:

Our last snapshots as a family of three:

 Kaden with his cousins, Tyson and Julia (Chad's cousin's kids . . .what does that make them?  Second cousins?):

Kaden with Daddy and Poppy:

Tomorrow's going to be a pretty rough Monday for us.  It's hard to get back to reality after being in vacation mode for a week.  

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